Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by Sultana Parvin
A glossary of cooking terms is a list of terms used in cooking, along with their definitions. Cooking is the process of preparing food for consumption. It involves the use of various ingredients, cooking methods, and tools.
There are many different types of cooking, each with its own set of techniques and cooking terminology. The following is a list of a glossary of common cooking terms used in cooking, along with their definitions:
A List of a Glossary of Common Cooking Terms
Au jus: A French term meaning “with juice”, often used to describe a gravy or sauce made with the natural juices of the meat.
Al dente: Means “lightly cooked.” This is the perfect description for pasta or rice that is cooked until it is firm but not hard.
A la carte: This term is used to describe dishes that are served separately from the main course.
Appetizer: A small dish served before the main course to whet the appetite.
Béarnaise sauce: Is a sauce made of clarified butter emulsified in egg yolks and white wine vinegar.
Braise: Is a method of cooking in which food is first browned in fat, then cooked slowly in a covered pan with a little liquid.
Bake: To cook food in an oven using dry heat.
Broil: To cook food by direct exposure to radiant heat.
Beat: Mix ingredients together quickly using a spoon, electric mixer, or food processor.
Blanch: Plunge food into boiling water for a short time, then into cold water. This is often done to vegetables before freezing them.
Boil: Cook food in water or other liquid that is bubbling vigorously.
Batter: A mixture of flour, liquid, and sometimes other ingredients, such as eggs, that is used to make cakes, pancakes, and other similar foods.
Barbecue: To cook food, usually meat, over an open fire or on a special grill.
Blind bake: Baking a crust or pastry without filling, usually done to prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
Blancmange: A pudding that is made with milk, cornstarch, and gelatin.
Bloom: The process of gelatinization, where gelatin absorbs water and swells to form a gel.
Boil: The process of heating a liquid until it reaches its boiling point.
Boule: A round loaf of bread.
Brioche: A rich, eggy bread made with butter and milk.
Brown: The process of cooking food until it turns a brown color, usually done by roasting, grilling, or baking.
Bulk fermentation: The first step in making bread, where the dough is left to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.
Brining: Soak food in a saltwater solution
Casserole: A large, deep dish used for baking or serving food.
Clafoutis: A French dessert made of fresh cherries baked in a batter of eggs, milk, flour, and sugar.
Confit: A method of preserving food in which meat or vegetables are cooked slowly in fat.
Coulis: A sauce made from puréed fruits or vegetables.
Crème Fraiche: Is a rich, thick cream used in French cooking.
Chop: To cut food into bite-sized pieces using a knife.
Clarify: To remove solid particles from a liquid
Cream: Beat butter and sugar together until they form a smooth paste.
Cure: To preserve food by using salt, sugar, smoke, or vinegar.
Caramelize: To heat sugar until it turns brown and has a distinct flavor. This is often done with onions or other vegetables to add sweetness and depth of flavor to dishes.
Coat: To cover food in a thin layer of another substance, such as flour, bread crumbs, or chocolate. This is often done to create a crisp or crunchy texture or to seal in flavor.
Cake: A sweet, often layered, dessert made with flour, sugar, eggs, and butter.
Cure: To preserve food by curing it with salt, sugar, or smoke. This method is often used for meats, such as bacon or ham.
Custard: A creamy mixture made with milk, eggs, and sugar, often used as a filling for pies and pastries.
Cut: divide food into pieces with a knife
Deglaze: A method of adding flavor to a dish by adding a liquid (usually wine or stock) to a pan in which food has been cooked, and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Dash: A small amount of liquid, usually added to food with a quick movement of the hand.
Deep fry: To cook food in hot fat.
Dice: Cut food into small cubes using a knife.
Dissolve: To cause a solid to disappear into a liquid.
Dust: Sprinkle a small amount of a dry ingredient, such as flour, over food.
Denaturation: Is the process of breaking down proteins, and it usually happens by heating.
Dough: A mixture of flour, water, and other ingredients used to make bread, pastries, and other baked goods.
Drape: To cover a dough or pastry with a cloth, usually done to prevent the dough from drying out.
Dry rub: A mixture of spices rubbed onto food before cooking
Emulsion: A mixture of two or more liquids that are normally not able to be combined, such as oil and water.
Egg wash: Is a mixture of eggs and water that is used to give baked goods a shiny or golden color.
Fry: To cook food in hot oil.
Flambé: A method of cooking in which alcohol is added to a hot pan and then set on fire.
Fillet: To cut meat or fish into a boneless strip.
Flake: To break food into small pieces.
Fold: Mix ingredients together gently using a spoon or spatula, moving from the bottom of the bowl to the top.
Fermentation: The process of yeast converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, which gives bread its flavor and texture.
Flour: A powder made from grinding grains, used to make doughs and batters.
Food processor: A food processor helps in chopping, grinding, or pureeing food. It is a kitchen appliance used often in homes.
Flavor: To add a seasoning, such as salt, to food
Ganache: Is a rich chocolate sauce made of chocolate and cream.
Gratin: A dish made of vegetables or meat baked with a cheese or breadcrumb topping.
Garnish: To decorate food with edible items such as herbs, vegetables, or fruit.
Glaze: Coat food with a thin layer of liquid such as syrup or melted chocolate.
Grill: To cook food on a grill over direct heat.
Gelatinization: The process of gelatin absorbing water and swelling to form a gel.
Gluten: Is a protein found in wheat and other grains. It is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.
Grating: Is the process of creating various irregular-shaped small pieces of a food item using a hand grater.
Grind: To grind food, you need to use a hand grinder or a mechanical grinding machine.
Hydration: Flour needs water to become Dough, so in order to make Dough, you need to hydrate it first. This is done by adding water to the flour.
Icing: A sweet, often thick, coating used to decorate or flavor cakes and other desserts.
Jus: A sauce made by cooking meat or vegetables in stock.
Julienne: To cut food into thin, matchstick-sized strips.
Knead: Work the dough with the hands to form it into a smooth, elastic mass.
Leavening: Leavening is what helps the dough to rise, and it is usually done with baking soda, baking powder, or yeast.
Levain: A starter used to make bread, made with flour, water, and yeast.
Lukewarm: Neither warm nor hot; almost the same as the body temperature.
Marinade: A mixture of herbs, spices, and liquids used to flavor and tenderize meat or vegetables.
Mirepoix: A mix of chopped carrots, celery, and onions used to flavor stocks, soups, and other dishes.
Mise en place: A French term meaning “everything in its place.” It is used to refer to the practice of organizing all the ingredients and tools you will need before you begin cooking.
Marinate: Soak food in a seasoned liquid for a period of time.
Mince: Chop food into very small pieces using a knife.
Macaron: A French cookie made with almond flour, egg whites, and sugar.
Meringue: A sweet mixture made with egg whites and sugar, often used to top pies and desserts.
Meunier: To scour is to clean something with flour and a little bit of oil or butter.
Mix: To mix ingredients is to combine them by stirring.
Oven spring: The oven spring is the time when the bread dough in the oven starts to rise.
Pâte à choux: Is a light pastry dough used to make éclairs, cream puffs, and other pastries.
Poach: To cook food in a simmering liquid.
Puree: To mash or blend food into a smooth, thick paste.
Proof: The process of letting dough or yeast rise in a warm place.
Parboil: To cook food partially in boiling water
Plump: To soften dried fruits, you can either soak them in water or another liquid food item.
Pinch: Pinching is when you hold a very little amount of tiny particles between your thumb and forefinger.
Planked: The food is cooked on a thick hardwood plank.
Pan-Broil: The food is cooked in a hot uncovered fry pan, while the oil or fat can be poured off as it accumulates.
Pickle: Keep vegetables and fruits in salt water to preserve them.
Pare: Remove the outermost skin of a fruit or vegetable to get to the fruit or vegetable’s edible flesh.
Peel: To remove the skin from a vegetable or fruit, you would peel it.
Pit: To remove the pits 9 deep parts) from fruits, you would pit them.
Roux: A mixture of flour and fat used to thicken sauces.
Reduce: Boil a liquid until some of the water has evaporated, resulting in a thicker, more concentrated liquid.
Roast: To cook food in an oven using indirect dry heat.
Sauté: A method of cooking in which food is cooked quickly in a small amount of fat.
Simmer: Simmering is a cooking method that uses liquid to cook food. It is done at a low temperature, just below the boiling point.
Stock: A flavored liquid made by cooking meat, vegetables, and/or bones in water.
Sweat: A method of cooking in which food is cooked slowly in a covered pan with a little liquid, allowing the natural juices to flavor the dish.
Skim: To remove the foam or scum from the surface of a liquid.
Slice: Cut food into thin pieces using a knife.
Steam: To cook food using the steam from boiling water.
Stir: Mix ingredients together using a spoon or spatula.
Strain: To remove solid particles from a liquid by using a sieve or cheesecloth.
Stew: Stewing is a cooking method where food is cooked slowly in a small amount of liquid. This slow cooking process helps to retain the flavor and moisture of the food.
Stir-fry: To cook food quickly in a small amount of hot oil while stirring constantly.
Score: To make shallow cuts on the surface of the dough, usually done to control the direction of the bread’s rise.
Slurry: A mixture of water and flour is used to thicken soups and sauces.
Starter: Starter is a mixture of flour, water, and yeast. This mixture helps in the making of bread and other fermented foods.
Straight dough: A dough that is mixed and kneaded all at once, without any fermentation.
Season: To add salt, pepper, or other spices to food
Steep: Boil food in water until it is fully cooked. This will change the color, flavor, or other qualities of the food.
Sterilize: To destroy micro-organisms, you can use one of three methods: boiling water, dry heating, or steaming. All these methods work by using hot water to kill the micro-organisms.
Score: To score or cut the outer surface of food with a narrow groove or slash.
Shred: To shred the outer surface of food into small, long, narrow pieces.
Scald: To scald food, you reduce the temperature just below the boiling point. This prevents the bubbles from breaking and making the food taste bad.
Sear: To sear food, you turn it quickly into brown by heating it up to a high temperature. This makes the food taste good and crispy.
Sift: To add one or more ground dry ingredients through a sieve.
Thicken: Add a substance such as flour, cornstarch, or egg yolks to a liquid to make it thicker.
Toast: To cook food, such as bread, by exposure to radiant heat.
Temper: To slowly heat a substance, usually eggs, to prevent them from cooking too quickly or curdling.
Tin: In baking, a metal pan is used to cook food. Usually made of metal, used to bake cakes, cookies, and other desserts.
Tenderize: To make food more tender by pounding, marinating, or adding a tenderizer
Truss: To cook chicken or poultry correctly, you need to secure it with some kind of string or skewers. This will keep the chicken or poultry from breaking apart while it is being cooked and will make it look nicer when it is done.
Velouté: A sauce made by cooking stock and roux together.
Whisk: Mix ingredients together quickly using a wire whisk.
Whip: Whipping is a technique that is used to create foam or expansion in an item such as cream or egg whites. It is done by quickly beating or using a beater machine.
Yeast: A microorganism used to leaven bread and other doughs.
Zest: Remove the outermost layer of skin from a citrus fruit using a grater or zester.